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5 Family Offices Investing in Real Estate

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We continue to shine a light on the alternative wealth space and private capital market by providing detailed analyses on the recent investment history of family offices. Fueled by data from the FINTRX Private Wealth Data Platform, which provides intel into thousands of direct deal transactions made by over 3,700+ family offices worldwide, we outline five family offices directly investing in one of the most dominant asset classes in the alternatives space: real estate.


1. Stiles Family Office

Founded in 1951, the Stiles Family Office is a single-family office located in Fort Lauderdale, FL with an estimated total AUM between $400M - $1B. In describing themselves as the only real estate company you’ll ever need, Stiles boasts 52 million square feet of property and a multi-generational family leadership team. Around 10% of their investments are in real estate, and the remainder is centered around third-party work.

The Stiles Family Office rarely diversifies its portfolio, with 26 out of 27 recent investments relating to real estate or retail. However, the lack of physical variation does not see them to be devoid of accomplishment. Their relationships with firms such as Publix, Starwood Hotels, and the Miami Dolphin Stadium amplify their presence in Florida. In recent years, the Stiles Family Office has begun investing in properties in North Carolina and Tennessee, but their primary focus (and expertise) is in South Florida. Their essential monopoly on the real estate space is accompanied by a decorated portfolio and pristine reputation.

The Stiles Family has championed the development of South Florida throughout the last few decades. Most recently, the family office acquired 72nd & Park for $98 million in 2022. Located in Miami, the new development joins the portfolio of Stiles’ many other acquisitions within Miami and Fort Lauderdale. In 2022, they also bought the Shalimar Apartment Complex and the Whitfield Hotel on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale. The purchase of the Whitfield reaffirms their dominance in Fort Lauderdale, especially since the early days of the city’s rise. 

 

2. Pontegadea Investments (Amancio Ortega Family Office)

The Pontegadea Investment Firm was established in 2001 as the family office for Amancio Ortega. Ortega is the founder of the clothing chain Zara, and joined Inditex in order to go public. Pull&Bear and Bershka, stores similar to Zara, are also a part of the Inditex Group. As the former CEO, Ortega oversaw the production and facilitation of a company with $34.2 billion in net sales in 2021. Based in La Coruña, Spain, Pontegadea invests largely in real estate and logistics throughout North America and Europe in addition to other diversified alternatives. With 59% of Inditex’s stake to his name, Ortega has seen a generous and consistent cash flow.

For the last 20 years, the Pontegadea group has invested primarily in commercial real estate. The $323 million purchase of the Kiara Tower in December 2022 added forty floors and 15,247 square feet of retail space to Pontegadea’s portfolio. The purchase, conveniently located near a Zara store, contributes to a city-wide effort to revitalize downtown Seattle. In October 2022, Ortega acquired 19 Dutsch St. in New York City’s Financial District for $487.5 million. The apartment complex is located in a booming area of young professionals and businesses, a characteristic found in many of Ortega’s real estate investments. Relevancy and return on investment seem to be two high qualifications for investment.

While the success of commercial real estate investments is certainly present, Pontegadea Investments have begun venturing further into logistical investing. In June of 2023, a 1.1 million square foot warehouse was purchased in Venlo, Netherlands for $115.2 million. Located near Germany, the warehouse currently serves as a logistics hub for the transport company DSV A/S. Additionally, the recent acquisition of a Walmart Distribution Center outside of Los Angeles contributes an additional 340,120 square feet of space to the group.

 

3. Wates Group (Wates Family Office)

Originally a construction firm, the Wates Group was created in 1897 by Edward Wates in Leatherhead, England. The firm has rotated between different construction industries in the last century, such as with civil engineering, system builds, and contracting models. One of the Wates Group’s earliest projects was with regard to pre-cast concrete structures, which facilitated operations for D-Day. Their vast expertise puts them in a leading position in the real estate and construction industry in the UK, and nearly all of their investments are within Britain. They experienced a $40.6 million profit in 2022 with a $3.4 billion turnover.

The Wates Group has recently invested in a massive warehouse space for scientific purposes. The National Quantum Computing Centre, acquired in June 2022, was a $39.5 million investment. Located in Oxfordshire, the lot will provide the infrastructure needed to operate quantum computers and their functions, including office space, meeting areas, and laboratories. In conjunction with various British research councils, the project is operating using sustainable materials. Similarly, the December 2021 purchase of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) is also practicing sustainable methods and will be used to manufacture the “hubs of the future.”  One component of the $505.1 million expenditure is a partnership with Nissan UK to increase electric vehicle production. The plot of 370 acres has 623,000 square feet of development already, with room for up to an additional 1 million square feet.

In addition to warehouses and industrial space, the Wates Group also invests in residential and subsidized living. In May 2022, the firm procured the Woodlands Development in Barrow Gurney. Located six miles outside of Bristol, the British housing center includes 66 homes. $1.9 million of the project’s budget has been allocated for local support, including education, affordable housing, and leisure facilities. A $53.2 million investment in December 2021 resulted in Wates’ acquisition of “Throstle Rec”, a subsidized housing development sponsored by Leeds’ City Council. The six acres of land will have five set aside for green spaces, and the building process will be done in an energy-efficient manner. Additionally, the construction team will be implementing sustainable drainage, with they say promotes biodiversity. 

 

4. Cheyne Capital Management

The Cheyne Capital Management team was established in 2000 by Jonathan Lourie and Stuart Fiertz. Located in London, England, the firm serves as both a multi-family office and a registered investment advisor. Since they were created, Cheyne has maintained a culture similar to hedge funds, focused on above-average returns and a proactive investment strategy. Their real estate sector contains $5.0 billion of their $11 billion AUM portfolio, concentrating on “non-cyclical asset classes” and mid-market and affordable housing (Cheyne).

The group's recent transactions have been predominantly within Western Europe, with a special concentration on English and Irish debt financing. This past month, Cheyne announced the completion of a $111 million finance towards The Shipping Office in the Silicon Docks of Dublin, Ireland. Previously a shipping port, this purchase is one of many efforts to transform the neighborhood. The building has a mere 182,157 square feet of space, encompassing a roof garden, residential and commercial availability, and underground parking spaces, all of which is according to ESG standards. Furthermore, this investment is especially praised as it was one of few opportunities left alongside Dublin’s River Liffey. A similar project was acquired in April 2023 with a $187 million refinancing of the Winchester House in London, England. As the home of Deutsche Bank, the re-design of the interior of the building will be done in compliance with ESG standards. Although a few hours’ flight away, the debt financing for the Hotel Maria in Helsinki, Finland, is also part of Cheyne’s portfolio. In February 2023, Cheyne allotted $65.7 million to Samla Capital Oy for the historic building as an effort to build luxury tourism in Finland. The project will redesign the four-building hotel inside while also maintaining its exterior. This was the second real estate investment in Finland for Cheyne.

Mixed-use schemes are also a preference of Cheyne Capital’s investment strategy. In March 2023, they contributed $145.5 million in debt financing for Borough Yards. Although situated in an area of high tourist activity (located near the London Bridge), Borough Yards has historically underutilized its potential retail market. This project follows the BREEAM sustainability guidelines, and will hopefully increase business with the 15 million people who pass through each year. Additionally, a May 2022 financing of $233.8 million towards the Regal London also follows a mixed-use scheme. The space functions with commercial and residential spaces, including 35% of the 759 home units dedicated to affordable housing. The project will follow environmental standards and features green space within the building. Located near Wembley Stadium in London, Cheyne’s investment contributes to the current efforts to rebuild the Wembley neighborhood.

 

5. Crow Holdings

Crow Holdings is a multi-family office and RIA located in Dallas, Texas. Created in 1948 by Trammell Crow, the firm is the backbone for the Crow family’s accolades in Dallas. Trammell Crow’s first building, the Old Trinity Basin, was built in 1948. His second development, the Dallas Market Center in 1957, enhanced his position within Dallas’ real estate market. The firm prides itself on “genuine partnership” and is willing to co-invest with other LPs or FOs. Their current AUM sits at roughly $16 billion, with 78% of the portfolio encompassing various forms of real estate (apartment, industrial, and retail).

A large portion of Crow Holdings’ portfolio is dedicated to industrial real estate throughout the United States. The South Cargo Logistics Hub joined their business in February 2023. As a former Air Force base, the 288,000 square feet offers adequate space for airline transport and cargo and is located directly on the tarmac of Milwaukee’s airport. The firm is developing it on behalf of the airport, hoping the industry sees this as an alternative to O’Hare airport in Chicago, as there are lower costs and fewer technicalities. The main highway, I-94, has direct access to the hub as well.

The Otay Business Park is located 20 miles from San Diego and was acquired in February 2023 for $165 million. The 1.8 million square feet is expected to house an industrial campus with 325 dock-high loadings. The close proximity to the border has coined its location as “an emerging area” according to Brant Aberg, who contributed to the deal from Cushman & Wakefield’s team. Similarly, the acquisition of 2811 SW 70th Avenue in Coral Gables, Florida, contributes to Crow’s industrial focus. Purchased in January 2023 for $24 million, the current towing location is likely to be transformed into an industrial site. In collaboration with the Carlyle Group, Crow Holdings is reported to have taken out a $72.1 million loan from Comerica Bank to fund the project.

However, Crow Holdings also has been actively seeking residential opportunities for investment, too. In October 2022, a $105 million deal was effected in St. Pete, Florida for Alexan 1700. The space is planned to house 267 apartments with commercial space and an indoor garage. Interestingly, the developers have offered local retailers the opportunity to own their units within the building. This opportunity represents an ability to support local businesses while also generating a profit for the investment.


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